Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot of talk about that strange word we struggle to pronounce… Hygge (it’s hoo-guh by the way). Explaining exactly what it means is tricky, since there’s no direct translation for the Danish word. But, really, it’s more of a feeling anyway.
But the underlying sentiment is of creating intimacy, connecting with those you love, and finding pleasure in the small things. It’s about mindfulness and being in the moment. Now, there are many ways to adopt and embrace this Danish way of living — which is said to be the happiest on earth — and to think about it as more than just a trend. Simple changes in your lifestyle like unplugging, making homemade soup each week, and taking time to write a letter all invite in hygge.
But one of the biggest parts of the recipe is the home. But hygge isn’t just to be embraced in winter months. You can take a few notes from the Danish and make your home more cozy and inviting, year-round. Here are 10 ways to bring a little hygge into your home.
1. By Candlelight
When Danes are asked what they most associate with hygge, the vast majority will say candles. The glow of candles creates the perfect atmosphere, lifting the spirits and casting warm light on a winter evening. Whether it’s during a night in alone, or while entertaining close friends, there’s nothing more enticing than a room lit by candlelight.
2. Let There Be (More) Light
Okay, so it’s not just about candles. Because they are surrounded in darkness for much of the winter, the Danes take their lighting very seriously. A hyggelig home not only draws in as much natural light as possible, but then also has carefully selected lamps to create soothing pools of light.
Position your table and floor lamps where you want to invite coziness, and choose light bulbs that are lower in temperature (Kelvin). Also, treat lighting fixtures like art. In Danish homes, they are often beautifully designed pieces that command attention.
3. Find Natural Elements
There may not be a lot of green outdoors through the winter months, but that doesn’t stop the Danes from bringing it inside to lighten and brighten! The same goes for wood accents. Wood floors, furniture, even toys — all help us feel closer to nature. And that is a very important part of the hygge concept. So bring the outside in!
4. Bring in the Books
Taking a break with a good book is one of the mainstays of hygge, especially in winter when people are cooped up inside. So why not fill a shelf with gorgeous books?! Or even a whole room! We can all agree that they have a special way of making a space feel more welcoming and lived in… a simple addition that is very hyggelig.
5. Create The Nook
Every hygge home needs that perfect place to curl up with a blanket and relax. Danes refer to this as their hyggekrog… their nook. It’s a space where they can be at peace and feel safe, read a book and have a cup of tea or hot cocoa. Layer pillows and throws to make your nook the epitome of hyggelig, and try to disconnect from the noise of everyday.
6. Feature the Fireplace
It doesn’t get much cozier in winter than lighting a fire. In fact, fireside may just be the ultimate hygge sanctuary. To bring this into your home for year round hygge, making the hearth the focal point in the room (rather than the TV, for instance) will help create that intimacy. Also, make sure you have ample amounts of blankets and pillows on hand for spur of the moment hang outs with friends.
7. Invoke A Warm Color Palette
The overall color scheme will have a major effect on how hyggelig a home feels. Cool tones aren’t necessarily a no, but Danes do prefer to keep the general palette warm and cozy. It’s about considering how colors will feel in the home… not just how they will look. A few extra pillows or accessories in warmer neutrals can help to invoke the feeling of hygge.
8. Layer in Textures
And speaking about feel… the tactile sense is very important when it comes to a hyggelig interior. A variety of textures is comforting and offers a gratifying balance to a room. Think of letting your fingers run across a wood table, your arms surrounded by a soft linen blanket, or your feet on top of a fur rug.
9. Allow for Vintage Touches
When it comes to vintage items, narratives and nostalgia come into play, making them more interesting and very hyggelig. In fact, Danes believe that household objects should be more than just things. They should hold an emotional value or tell a story. Use the change of seasons to clear away the purposeless. Display that precious teapot of your grandmother’s or landscape portrait from your mother. Recover a vintage chair or give new life to that bench you found at a flea market with your best friend.
10. Simplicity is Key
And lastly, remember that to live Danishly is about simplifying. About only surrounding yourself with the things that really make you happy. Hygge is not about extravagance, but about taking pleasure in the sheer simplicity of your immediate surroundings. Use your space for living rather than a storage of stuff. Winter may just be the perfect time to purge away the excess.